How to Add More Fruits and Veggies in Your Diet
We all know eating more fruits and veggies is a good thing. If you're looking for ways to add more fruits and veggies to your diet, here are some easy ways to do it.
Accessible Fruits and Veggies as Snacks
Keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand for healthy snacks. This is especially important for after school activities when active snacking usually follows kids' activities. Fruits and veggies as snacks also applies to adults. Instead of looking to chips or crackers late at night if the need for crunch is apparent, turn to mini carrots or carrot sticks, radishes, or celery sticks. Leaving a bowl of fruit such as apples, oranges or bananas within easy reach of everyone makes it easy to choose them instead of junk food. Also, fruits and veggies are generally more inexpensive (carrots, celery, apples, etc.), and finding them on sale in season will give you an opportunity to try new things different times of the year.
Go Organic for a Few Items
Organic may be pesticide-free, but organic fruits and vegetables are also usually more expensive. Look at the choices of snack fruits and vegetables the kids or family members eat on a regular basis. Then, choose one fruit or vegetable in the organic section for that item. For example, if apples are eaten by the bushel every month, purchase only organically grown and local apples. That way you won't over extend the family budget on produce, and you'll know the one item everyone on the house eats is organic and pesticide-free.
Dealing with Frozen and Canned Items
While canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are handy to use and convenient to stock up on and store, some varieties contain added salt, sugars, or even preservatives. Read the packages for the list of ingredients, and choose those varieties that contain just the fruit or vegetable you are looking for.
- For canned fruits: If other ingredients are necessary for processing, like canned fruit, choose those processed with only fruit juice instead of heavy syrup.
- For canned vegetables: Look for varieties that contain no salt or added sugars since those will generally be added in the recipe anyway.
- For frozen fruits and vegetables: Look for IQF varieties - Individually Quick Frozen - since these contain just the fruit or vegetable. Also, avoid vegetables with a 'sauce' added or fruits with sugar added.
Use Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Homemade Baked Items
Instead of purchasing commercially prepared mixes for fruit muffins (think cranberry, blueberry, and banana) for breakfast or other meals, make them yourself. Almost all recipes for these types of baked goods are inexpensive to prepare - most contain simply flour, sugar, leavening, eggs, and milk - you can also be assured that the fruit added is the real fruit and not some processed and commercially regurgitated simulations to the fruit or artificial flavors and colors.
Plant an Indoor or Outdoor Garden
The fruits and vegetables that tend to get eaten are those that are within reach. So, plant your own garden. If you don't have the space in your yard, or you don't have a yard at all, do a patio garden with tubs of leaf lettuces or fresh herbs. Tomatoes and peppers are good container garden vegetables, and banana trees and citrus fruits can be grown in pots in full sun on decks and on patios.
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